My Dearest Big Kids,
As you enter your teen years, you may find that you are completely irritated with me on a regular basis. Don't worry. It's normal and to be expected. And the feeling will most likely be mutual.
You will find me to have high expectations for you. You will most likely believe that I am too strict. Know that being strict isn't a character flaw of mine with which I was born. I choose to be this way. I have prayed, read, discussed, and thought long and hard about my parenting. I choose to be strict with high expectations of you. The expectations will not change.
Some day you will realize that you are the only person in your entire grade that has to/doesn't get to do something or other. Perhaps you will be the only kid in school with chores. Or the only kid without a phone. Or the only 15 year old alive who isn't allowed to go to certain types of parties. When you realize this, there will most likely be some gnashing of teeth. Yours, not mine. I will be completely content with my decision. And just so you know, you really won't be the ONLY one. I promise.
As you know, if you have trouble following the house rules, there are consequences. The severity of the consequences are in direct proportion to your behavior. Regardless of the fact that you choose to ignore the rules and suffer the consequences, you will probably think I am being mean. You may throw a temper tantrum to let me know how unfair you are finding me to be. I'm OK with that. There are six of you. I've been around the temper tantrum block a few hundred times. It will pass.
I do, however, need you to know that the rules and consequences aren't in place because I want you to be unhappy. They are there because I love you. The consequences are given from a place of safety and love. They are there because I know what life is like after you leave our home. Out in the big, grand world, there are also rules and consequences. However, the consequences out there aren't made in love. I want you to learn how to make wise choices on how to behave while you are still in the safety of a loving home. Better now than when you are out in the world where the consequences are much more severe and painful.
Basically, the next handful of years, when four of you will be in the midst of teenhood at the same time, has the potential to be bumpy. We will make it through. There will even be moments (hopefully lots and lots of them) where you actually like me and we can have some fun.
On the other side, when you are grown and have a good job and a spouse and kids of your own, you will thank me. Preferably weekly and with much flailing and apologizing and sobs of "You were the best mom a kid could ever have."
With oh so much love, in good times and bad,